LG G6 vs Google Pixel XL: You could argue that last year’s LG G5 was a misstep on the company’s path to dominion over the smartphone market, but 2017’s LG G6 looks to be a far more formidable beast. It just has to take on a few notable adversaries, one of which is Google’s Pixel XL.
LG G6 vs Google Pixel XL: Specs at a glance
|LG G6||Google Pixel XL|
|Screen resolution||Quad HD+ (2880×1440)||WQHD (2560×1440)|
|Weight||163 grams||168 grams|
|OS||Android 7.0 w/ LG UX 6.0||Android 7.1|
|Rear cameras||Dual 13-megapixels w/ OIS + wide-angle lens||12.3-megapixels w/ EIS|
|Processor||2.35GHz/2.16GHz Snapdragon 821||2.16GHz/1.6GHz Snapdragon 821|
|Memory||4GB RAM||4GB RAM|
|Storage||32GB/64GB + microSD up to 2TB||32GB/128GB. Non-expandable|
|Battery||3300mAh w/ Quick Charge 3.0||3450mAh w/ USB-C PD|
LG G6 vs Google Pixel XL: Which is best for me?
The G6 certainly features traits from the G5, but it feels like a different style of smartphone. It’s pulled away from the gimmicky and often unreliable modular design and focussed on condensing cutting edge hardware into an impressively thin metal frame with a lightly textured back, protected by smooth pillowed glass.
Aside from the addition of a physical power button (the G6 solely relies on screen double-taps to sleep and wake, which works well) the Pixel XL ticks many of the same boxes: well-crafted metal frame, rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, nicely textured hardware controls, USB-C and a (partially) glass back. But despite the similarities on paper, to look at there’s a clear winner when it comes to aesthetics.
LG’s trimmed the fat from the G5 rending the G6 slimmer, leaner and more attractive than the Pixel XL from any angle. The real trick was slimming down the bezels on all sides so that the front of the phone is nearly entirely consumed by its screen, whilst the Pixel XL suffers from unusually large swathes of glass bezel present above and below its display (not to mention along the edges). The G6’s sting is particularly potent as it’s the thinner, lighter, smaller smartphone and yet its expansive display is actually 0.2-inches bigger than the Pixel XL’s, not to mention IP68 certification means its far better equipped to deal with dust and water than Google’s phone.
The 5.7-inch Quad HD+ IPS LCD on the G6 is an unusual and unquestionably beautiful panel. Its 18:9 aspect ratio and 2880×1440 resolution render it sharper than the Pixel XL’s (also excellent) 5.5-inch WQHD AMOLED display. The corners are slightly rounded too, which feels decidedly organic, standing out in a world of perfectly squared smartphone screens (save for perhaps the Xiaomi Mi Mix). LG has also seen fit to ensure that the G6 adheres to both Dolby Vision and HDR 10 standards, so content captured natively to either will look noticeably nicer on the G6 versus the Pixel.
You get the option of an always-on display with LG’s phone, or a motion-activated display with the Pixel XL, which lights only when you pick the phone up. The AMOLED technology (paired to a larger battery) should ensure that in general usage the Pixel outlives the G6 between charges as a result, but by how much we’ll have to test out to be sure.
Software wise Google has placed an especially heavy focus on the functionality of the Pixel and Pixel XL. Both phones debuted Android 7.1 with a new launcher and come accompanied by the Google Assistant; an evolution of Google Now with conversational chops and bot-like functionality. The simple swipe up apps drawer is a smart update on the older apps tray button and basic gestures like notification access by swiping down on the fingerprint sensor are nice too.
The G6 technically launches on Android 7.0, but you’d be hard-pressed to notice any differences in functionality between the two phones because of it, not least because LG has been far more heavy-handed with its Android overlay in a bid to capitalise on the phone’s unique aspect ratio. LG UX 6.0 divides many of the phone’s native apps into two perfect squares that serve as a unifying theme throughout, whilst by default there’s no apps drawer. Unlike companies such as Huawei though, you can actually hide unused apps to keep things tidy (you can also add an apps drawer back in if you want).
It’s also worth noting that the G6 is one of the few non-Pixel phones to also boast the Google Assistant, so the playing field is level on that front. You just have to decide whether you want the cleaner, more lightweight interface on offer from the Pixel XL or the G6’s all-singing-all-dancing but unquestionably heavier skinned alternative.
These phones are clearly different on the outside, but things fall a little bit closer together inside, most obviously in their choice of processor and memory configurations. Expect similar performance from either flagship, with the Pixel XL’s more lightweight UX and lower resolution display being the only potential factors in giving it the edge performance-wise.
As with the Nexus devices before them, both Pixel phones only sport integrated storage and lack expandability altogether, meaning you have to choose between a potentially restrictive 32GB or a whopping 128GB (which results in a comparatively significant price hike). The G6 is more adaptable, with up to 64GB of internal space and microSD expandability, giving a more affordable means of adding storage space if needed.
Whichever way you swing both Google and LG have kitted out their best and brightest with big batteries to boot. As we touched on earlier, the lower resolution AMOLED display on the XL paired to a larger 3450mAh cell might trump the G6’s 3300mAh battery in longevity tests under general usage. There are also different fast-charging technologies at play, with USB-C PD giving you seven hours use from 15 minutes charge on the Pixel and Quick Charge 3.0 over USB-C features on the G6 offering up 50 per cent charge in 30 minutes.
The last cornerstone of any flagship phone is its camera setup, and we’re itching to test out what the G6 brings to the table. The Pixel XL has already proven itself tim and again with a stunning 12.3-megapixel snapper that despite a decidedly average sounding f/2.0 aperture and EIS in place of OIS, takes class-leading shots and also great 4K video, all of which can also be backed up to Google Photos for free at its native resolution.
The G6 can’t match the Pixel XL’s cloud storage proposition, but its camera capabilities look equally as impressive or at the very least more interesting. The phone possesses dual 13-megapixel sensors: one with a 71-degree field of view and OIS, whilst the second boasts an impressively wide 125-degree FOV (both also leverage a laser autofocus array and a dual tone LED flash, similarly to the XL). As such, it can pull off many of the same tricks as its predecessor, except this time there’s no loss in quality when moving in and out of the wide angle FOV. You even get lossless zoom whilst shooting 4K video if you want.
On the front, the XL’s camera packs more detail with an 8-megapixel sensor that’s geared to handle low light well, whilst LG’s chosen to impress selfie lovers with modes like a GIF creator and a square shooting mode tied into 5-megapixel front facer.
There are still a few question marks hanging over some of the finer points of the LG G6, like general performance, camera quality and battery life, but initial impressions are good for the South Korean tech giant’s new star player. The XL has established itself as the metric by which all other top-tier Android smartphones are judged right now and the G6 trumps it in multiple areas, such as its design, display and storage arrangement. There’s also the matter of price, with the Pixel XL starting at an uncomfortably high £719. If the G6 can match or undercut that, we’d call it a no-brainer.
Read next: LG G6 hands-on review